Case study: tackling homelessness in London
Policy in Practice is working with Trust for London to pool together Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support data across 19 London Boroughs. This project tracks employment, income and housing circumstances of over 570,000 low-income Londoners over 19 months.
London, more than any other region, is affected by the sustained housing crisis in the UK. Over 70% of all families who are housed in temporary and emergency accommodation in the UK are in London.
For Londoners on low incomes, sustaining their tenancy is a serious and constant concern. For local authorities in the capital, the rise in homelessness is a key challenge.
Our project looks to tackle this issue head on by exploring how household-level data can be used to predict demand for homelessness and temporary accommodation, helping London boroughs to take preventative action.
Initial findings from the analysis revealed that lone parents are more likely to end up in temporary housing, and that boroughs with the highest historical increase in private sector rents are now hosting a greater proportion of homeless households.
With this knowledge we added twelve other potential predictors of homelessness, including:
- changes in employment and family circumstances
- financial resilience
- information on Council Tax and rent arrears and
- discretionary support funds.
Adding these extra predictors has let us develop a comprehensive model to accurately predict the risk of homelessness among low-income households in London.
The dataset is being expanded to include Citizens Index-type databases held by some local councils. Easily integrated, they can increase the predictive capability of our model.
Following on from our pan-London analysis, we are working with eight councils across the UK to expand the scope of our model. We are developing and iteratively improving a robust, predictive approach to identify and engage residents, tackling homelessness upstream.